Hack Tuke, Daniel – Healing - Crying as a means of emotional release
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,
PART II. THE EMOTIONS.
CHAPTER XI. INFLUENCE OF THE EMOTIONS UPON THE ORGANIC OR VEGETATIVE FUNCTIONS (CONTINUED).
The secretion of the lachrymal gland is, we know, excited by joy (and tender emotions) as well as by grief, its natural excitant.
"Back, foolish tears, back to your native springs —
Your tributary drops belong to woe,
Which you mistaking, offer up to joy."
We must confess with Brodie that we are unable to answer so simple a question as, why or how does a certain state of mind augment the secretion of this gland? Gratiolet inferred, partly from his own sensations, that tears result from reflex irradiations which traverse the fifth pair of nerves ; that is to say, the emotion of Joy or Sorrow acts first upon the heart or other viscera through motor channels, and is then reflected upon the sensory nerve supplying the gland. But this track does not seem anatomically or physiologically probable.
Much more likely is it that the influence is transmitted directly either to the capillaries of the gland by actively dilating motor nerves, or through nerves, to the lachrymal cells themselves, directly exciting their functional activity.
The quality of the secretion seems to be altered by powerful emotions, the saline ingredients being increased, causing " a strong brine."
Lastly, the secretion may be checked. The intensity of the feeling or the suddenness of the sorrow is the most frequently witnessed cause. Daily observation shows that the first result of distressing intelligence is the negative one — inability to cry. See, too, what the want of a handkerchief may do.
"I went," says Hunter, "to see Mrs. Siddons acting; I had a full conviction that I should be very much affected, but unfortunately I had not put a handkerchief in my pocket, and the distress I was in for the want of that requisite when one is crying, and a kind of fear I should cry, stopped up every tear, and I was even ashamed I did not, nor could not cry"
(Posthumous Papers, vol. i, p. 557).